[Warning: This trailer is NSFW.]
When rapper Tupac Shakur was shot and killed in Las Vegas back in 1996, it was a tremendous blow not just to his fans, but also to rap music in general. Shakur had been one of the biggest stars of the day and although the legalities of the life he lead were at times questionable, his violent murder at the age of twenty-five took away a talented musician and actor far too soon.
Some twenty years on since the superstar rapper’s death and Tupac Shakur’s name continues to be associated with an era of rap that many feel was the nadir of the genre. So beloved is Shakur that not unlike Elvis, the rapper has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories insisting that he’s still alive and well. Though such theories are questionable at best, one aspect of Shakur’s legacy that is indeed alive and well is the interest his persona continues to demand.
The latest attempt to appease fans of Tupac Shakur comes in the form of an upcoming biopic entitled All Eyez On Me. Named after Shakur’s final studio album, the first official teaser trailer arrived back in June. Now a second teaser trailer has arrived courtesy of the film’s official YouTube channel and runs only slightly longer than its predecessor, but gives a much deeper glimpse into the film’s style.
Following Tupac Shakur’s rise from the often-dangerous streets of East Harlem, New York, All Eyez On Me follows the rapper’s climb to superstardom – a journey, as his fans are well aware, that had more than its share of problems. Taking on the role of Shakur is newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr.: an actor who, if nothing else, bares an uncanny resemblance to the late rapper. Shipp himself has said that people have been pointing out the resemblance ever since he was a high school student. From the perspective of casting at least, All Eyez On Me has already put its best foot forward.
Over the years, rap biopics have had mixed levels of success. 2009’s Notorious, which told the story of murdered rapper Notorious B.I.G. received a lukewarm response from audiences, while Straight Outta Compton – the 2015 biopic of legendary gangster rap group N.W.A. – was a certified smash hit. For its part, All Eyez On Me seems to lack the production value of a film like Straight Outta Compton and judging by the trailers available thus far, emanates a slight low-budget feel and look. What’s more, neither the film’s director Benny Boom nor its writers have been part of any notable or quite frankly, successful productions to date.
All this of course, doesn’t necessarily make for a bad film. The history of cinema is rife with filmmakers who came from obscurity and made a name for themselves with hit films. One point that’s worth mentioning however is that Tupac fans will be expecting the best from a biopic on the late rapper and if All Eyez On Me fails to win them over, then the film itself will have grim prospects for survival.
All Eyez on Me is tentatively slated to reach U.S. theaters on November 11th, 2016.